JADE Montserrat’s lockdown film, Chronicle ia, goes online from July 7 as the latest digital commission for Scarborough Museums Trust.
“When 60,000 people are dead and a disproportionate amount are disabled, elderly and black and brown people, that’s a eugenic project,” says Montserrat in her 13-minute film as she considers the impact of lockdown.
Filming during a period of physical and “social” distancing caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, she chronicles the process of making and the new ways of being that encourage mutual support and acts of care as Montserrat searches for a methodology to apply Eve Sedgwick’s theory of “reparative reading in a visual form”. In a nutshell, that means envisioning the interconnectivity of art practice, public space, responsibility and care.
Working with art film-makers Webb-Ellis, Montserrat interprets reparative reading as a “process of decoding, describing and discussing imagery, visual and human relationships, to interrogate and challenge political structures and frameworks”.
“With a title that plays with processes of recording and documentation, Chronicle ia explores the personal and inter-personal impacts of lockdown through the documentation of a collaborative making process, emphasising new ways of co-existing that are based on support,” explains Montserrat, whose films reveals the process of making through making, using the online platform Zoom for a series of digital conversations.
As Montserrat says in the film, in response to the Corona crisis: “When 60,000 people are dead and a disproportionate amount are disabled, elderly and black and brown people, that’s a eugenic project…When is it that we rebel? When is it that we say ‘No’?”
Within the film are references to Scarborough Museums Trust’s collection of photographs by James Harrison, taken during numerous hunting trips in Africa and India between 1892 and 1910, in particular Harrison’s “debasing images of atrocities towards local peoples and the slayed bodies of innumerable animals”.
As Montserrat prepared to research this collection of photographs, diaries and taxidermy animals, she asked British/Canadian filmmakers Caitlin Webb-Ellis and Andrew Webb-Ellis to explore this with her to sustain her through the trauma of engaging with the material as an act of mutual care.
“Reflecting on the geographic, experiential, cultural and social spaces inhabited by the artists – filming is located in their respective isolations within Scarborough Borough – the film presents a discussion aiming to define global imaginaries that traverse histories, nations, ideologies and time to help us conceive a new world that is built on principles of equality, support and social justice,” says Scarborough Museums Trust.
“The film’s imagery demonstrates glitches in communication, revealing how reparative reading involves a gradual – and sometimes incomplete – piecing together of practices and subjective viewpoints, but that, ultimately and beautifully, a common goal can be achieved.”
As Scarborough Museums Trust continues to improve access to its online content, Chronicle ia includes audio descriptions embedded in the film as part of the creative process, along with subtitles. Please note, the film contains photographic documentation of colonial atrocities and explicit images of violence and nudity. Consequently, the trust strongly recommends viewing for adults only, or those aged 12 and over with parental or guardian supervision.
Montserrat’s film can be seen on the trust’s YouTube channel, www.bit.ly/YouTubeSMT, from Tuesday, July 7.Chronicle ia is one of a series of new digital commissions from Scarborough Museums Trust as part of its response to the pandemic crisis. The trust has asked artists Kirsty Harris, Jane Poulton, Wanja Kimani, Feral Practice, Jade Montserrat, Lucy Carruthers and Estabrak to create digital artworks for release online across social media platforms throughout the summer.
JULY 4 is “Liberation Day”, apparently, but not for theatres and concert halls. They can re-open, not for live performances, however, leaving them in a state of inertia that only exacerbates their growing crisis.
As for cinemas, tipped to return to life next weekend, the consensus is that July 31 is now looking the more likely re-start date for the summer blockbusters.
This column will steer clear of the pubs and bars and restaurants making their comebacks – you can read of that welcome uptick elsewhere – but focus on the widening opportunities for entertainment, enlightenment and exercise beyond the front door, while still highlighting the joys on the home front too.
CHARLES HUTCHINSON makes these suggestions.
Jorvik Viking Centre, re-opening on July 11
THE ever-resilient Jorvik Viking Centre is back on track from next Saturday with the Good To Go certification from Visit England, so all the boxes marked Government and industry Covid-19 guidelines have been ticked.
One important change is a switch to pre-booked visits only, with designated time slots every 20 minutes, to help control visitor flow and numbers, as well as extended hours over the summer months.
Within the building, in Coppergate, free-flow areas, such as the galleries will be more structured with presentations delivered by Viking interpreters, rather than video content or handling sessions.
York Early Music Festival, online from July 9 to 11
NEXT week’s “virtual” three-day event will be streamed online from the National Centre for Early Music, replacing the July 3 to 11 festival that would have celebrated Method & Madness. Concerts will be recorded at the NCEM’s home, St Margaret’s Church, in Walmgate, with social-distancing measures in place and no live audience.
York counter-tenor Iestyn Davies and lutenist Elizabeth Kenny present The Art Of Melancholy on July 9 at 7.30pm, when John Dowland’s Elizabethan music will be complemented by Davies’s renditions and readings of poetry by Robert Burton, Michael Drayton, Rose Tremain, Leo Tolstoy and Dowland himself.
On July 10, online concerts feature lute and theorbo player Matthew Wadsworth at 1pm, harpsichordist Steve Devine at 3.30pm and lyra viol player Richard Boothby at 7.30pm. July 11’s programme includes Consone Quartet at 1pm and Stile Antico at 7.30pm.
Tickets are on sale at tickets.ncem.co.uk and firstname.lastname@example.org, with a festival package at £30, individual concert tickets at £10 each and illustrated talks at £3.50 each.
Remembering Richard, York Musical Theatre Company, Sunday, 7.30pm, online
YORK Musical Theatre Company will mark the first anniversary of leading light Richard Bainbridge’s exit stage left on Sunday with a special online memorial concert.
Streamed on YMTC’s YouTube channel, the 7.30pm programme will celebrate Richard’s theatrical life with songs from all the shows he loved and the many he graced with the company.
Taking part will be Eleanor Leaper; Matthew Ainsworth; John Haigh; Florence Taylor; Moira Murphy; Amy Lacy; Rachel Higgs; Peter Wookie; Matthew Clare; Chris Gibson; Helen Singhateh, Jessa & Mick Liversidge. Returning to the ranks will be professional York actor Samuel Edward-Cook, alias Sam Coulson in his YMTC days.
Daisy Duke’s Drive-In Cinema, Knavesmire, York, tomorrow to Sunday
STATIC cinemas remain in the dark, but drive-in cinemas with social distancing rules in place have been given the Government green light.
North Easterners Daisy Duke’s Drive-In Cinema are revving up for four screenings a day. Take your pick from the very familiar Mamma Mia!, The Jungle Book, The Lion King, Frozen 2, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Greatest Showman, A Star Is Born, 28 Days Later, Pulp Fiction and Joker. Tickets can be booked at dukescinema.epizy.com.
Interaction between staff and customers will be kept to a minimum, with cars parked two metres apart and those attending expected to remain within their vehicles for the duration of the screenings on LED screens with the sound transmitted to car radios.
The Silly Squad, Explore York Libraries’ Summer Reading Challenge 2020, July 10 to September 18
GIVEN that Explore York’s libraries “aren’t open fully yet”, The Silly Squad Challenge is going virtual this summer, enabling children to take part online. There will be activities to do too, all on the same theme of fun, laughter and silliness.
The Silly Squad is a team of animal friends that loves to go on adventures and get stuck into all manner of funny books. This year, the Challenge features extra special characters designed by the author and illustrator Laura Ellen Anderson.
The Silly Squad website provides an immersive and safe environment for children to achieve their reading goals. Head to Explore’s website and join through the Summer Reading Challenge button.
Keep seeking out the good news
NO Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad at York Theatre Royal from July 14, and Everybody’s no longer Talking About Jamie at Leeds Grand Theatre that week too. Even the Downing Street daily briefings are off after all the unintended humour of 24 episodes of Hancock’s Half Hour.
However, all’s Weller that’s Paul Weller as the Modfather’s autumn 2020 gig at York Barbican is moved to June 29 2021. In the meantime, his new album, On Sunset, is out tomorrow.
Drag diva Velma Celli, the creation of York actor Ian Stroughair, has announced another online outing, The Velma Celli Show, Kitchen, on July 11 at 8pm.
And what about…?
BBC One revisiting Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads monologues, each one even starker in their isolation in these dislocated times of solitary confinement, shielding, loneliness and finding other people irritating. The Leeds playwright, now 86, has added two ones to his 1988 collection. “Quite bleak,” he says.
New albums by Neil Young (“new” but unearthed 1970s’ recordings); Jessie Ware, Nadine Shah and Haim.
Scarborough Art Gallery unlocking its doors from this weekend. A walk on York’s city walls with its new temporary one-way system in place for social distancing from Saturday….and then drop down for a drink at Grays Court Hotel’s new walled garden bar, in the shadow of York Minster.
Or a walk along Pocklington Canal, but watch out for the two swans, guarding their nine cygnets by the water’s edge.
SCARBOROUGH Art Gallery’s online film series will resume on June 30 with Re-presenting India On Screen.
The 7pm screening marks a new and ambitious element of Scarborough Museums Trust’s digital programming, with filmmakers Suraj Prasad and Tarini Manchanda joining the post-screening Q&A live from Delhi in this international collaboration between Britain and India.
Gallery Screenings Online, on the last Tuesday night of each month, features films selected to give audiences a new perspective on both visiting exhibitions and the permanent Scarborough Collections. Each is followed by a question-and-answer session.
Re-presenting India On Screen will feature short films by director, cinematographer and editor Priya Thuvassery; Gautam Valluri, an artist working with film; Suraj Prasad, co-founder of Lightcube, a film collective in New Delhi, and Tarini Manchanda, a filmmaker based in New Delhi.
Built around short films that re-think how India has been and continues to be re-presented on screen, the event will be co-hosted by Suraj Prasad and curator Martha Cattell.
The catalyst for June 30’s online screening was an item in the Scarborough Borough Collection: a journal by colonialist traveller Colonel James Harrison, from Brandesburton in East Yorkshire.
Suraj says: “The idea that colonialism is necessarily connected to a specific identity and location is convoluted and over-simplified; we are all colonialists to some degree. Perhaps our images can help reveal a lot about how we see the world.”
Harrison’s journal and photographs offer a specific representation of India through an external and colonialist perspective, observes Martha. “This screening will consider how filmmakers have used moving images to represent India. It will feature archive and contemporary works, drawing on themes of ecology, architecture and colonialism,” she says.
“It will aim to challenge pre-existing biases and colonist hangovers of India on screen, and is part of ongoing work at Scarborough Museums Trust to decolonialise the Scarborough Collections.”
Each Gallery Screening will have optional live captions from a stenographer; downloading the app version of Zoom is recommended for those wishing to use this function.
A “social story” – a visual guide – will be created too, with illustrations by Scarborough artist Savannah Storm to explain the format and accessible elements of the screening.
Access to the June 30 event is by password only, available, along with a link, by emailing Martha Cattell at Martha.email@example.com. Email the same address for access to the social story.
The introduction and Q&A will be available post-event on Scarborough Museums Trust’s YouTube channel: bit.ly/YouTubeSMT.
Visit the trust’s YouTube channel at the same address to watch the recorded introductions and Q&As from previous Gallery Screenings.
METRE by metre, Downing Street daily briefing by catch-you-by-surprise Downing Street daily briefing, we are moving closer to the beginning of the end of the 10 Things To See Next Week In York shutdown.
However, there is still no theatre, concert venue or cinema re-opening for the foreseeable future, although cinemas are making plans to do so in July. Watch this ever-shifting space.
In the meantime, amid the loosened-lockdown dawn of summer, when football and horse racing are back, albeit with no crowds, and beaches are back, but too crowded, the search continues for entertainment, enlightenment and exercise at home and farther afield.
From behind his door, increasingly ajar, CHARLES HUTCHINSON makes these suggestions.
Daisy Duke’s Drive-In Cinema, Knavesmire, York, July 3 to 5
STATIC cinemas, no, but Boris Johnson’s Government has given the green light to drive-in cinemas with social distancing rules in place.
North Easterners Daisy Duke’s Drive-In Cinema have been quick off the mark to announce a Drive-In Saturday (one for David Bowie fans), and a Friday and Sunday too, from July 3 to 5.
Interaction between staff and customers will be kept to a minimum, with cars parked two metres apart and those attending expected to remain within their vehicles for the duration of the screenings on LED screens with the sound transmitted to car radios.
Four screenings a day are in store, with the film line-up taking in The Jungle Book, The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, Frozen 2, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Greatest Showman, A Star Is Born, 28 Days Later, Pulp Fiction and Joker. Tickets can be booked at dukescinema.epizy.com.
Oh, and if theatres are still closed come December, would there be any takers for a drive-in pantomime?
York Radio Mystery Plays, on BBC Radio York, Sunday mornings throughout June
YORK Theatre Royal and BBC Radio York are collaborating to bring the York Mystery Plays to life on the airwaves on the Sunday Breakfast Show with Jonathan Cowap.
Working remotely from home, a cast of 19 community and professional actors has recorded four 15-minute instalments under the direction of Theatre Royal associate director Juliet Forster.
After Adam And Eve and The Flood Part 1, the series continues with The Flood Part 2 this weekend and Moses And Pharaoh on June 28. Hear the earlier ones at bbc.co.uk/sounds.
NO, not the big ones yet, such as York Art Gallery, but among those to announce the re-opening of doors in York this week are Simon Main’s Village Gallery, in Colliergate, and Ann Petherick’s Kentmere House Gallery, in Scarcroft Hill.
Village Gallery is presenting a photographic show by Instagrammer Katherine-of-Yorkshire until August 2. “Katherine regularly posts photographs on Instagram, mainly of York, and usually in black and white, using the camera on her phone to take the photos,” Simon says.
“She manages to convey a deep feeling of peace, even when documenting the major floods in York that happen all too regularly, as well as showing a different perspective of well-known places.”
Open by appointment only until further notice, Kentmere House is displaying A Life In Colour, Work from the Studio of Jack Hellewell, 1920-2000, including unframed pieces never seen before, to mark Hellewell’s centenary.
Mother Shipton’s Pixie Village Trail, Knaresborough
HAVE you ever dreamt of stepping into an utterly enchanted realm, deep in the captivating woodland, filled with fairy rings and secret doorways, where pixies are waiting to play?
If so, at Mother Shipton’s you can tread carefully through the land of the woodland people and keep your eyes peeled as you follow the trail to see their tiny houses.
Visitors will be provided with a trail sheet to explore the natural woodland at their own pace. Please note, open to pre-booked car admissions only, this Pixie Village event will not include any confined spaces and the actors will not be interacting with visitors, in order to reduce large gatherings of crowds and physical contact.
Seek out the good news
NO York Festival with Madness, Westlife and Lionel Richie at York Sports Club from tomorrow until Sunday. No revival of Alan Ayckbourn’s Just Between Ourselves opening at the SJT tonight for a summer run. No Ronan Keating: Twenty Twenty gig at York Barbican tomorrow.
However, one festival is going ahead, albeit in revised online form, namely the York Early Music Festival, from July 9 to 11, with York countertenor Iestyn Davies’s concert with lutenist Elizabeth Kenny as the stand-out.
Keating’s Twenty Twenty show will now be in Twenty Twenty One, on January 13 to be precise. Meanwhile, York’s Britpop alumni Shed Seven have re-arranged two 2020 outdoor concerts for next year, now playing Doncaster Racecourse post-racing on May 15 2021, rather than August 15 this summer, and headlining an all-Yorkshire bill at the Piece Hall, Halifax, on June 26 2021, instead of the same date this year.
And what about…
79-YEAR-OLD Bob Dylan’s first album of original songs in eight years, Rough And Rowdy Ways, out tomorrow, on Columbia. Phoebe Bridgers’ Punisher and Maccabees frontman Orlando Weeks’s solo debut A Quickening as further album recommendations. Spike Lee’s new Vietnam War film, Da 5 Bloods, streaming on Netflix. The Salisbury Poisonings, on BBC iPlayer, York actor Mark Addy among the cast. Talking Heads, Alan Bennett’s isolation monologues re-visited in Covid-19 times with two new additions, on BBC One from Tuesday.
Gardens at National Trust properties re-opening, such as Beningbrough Hall; bookings only. Val and Emma Carr’s Stanley & Ramona dinky coffee house, in Bishopthorpe Road, serving up coffee and cake again, hurrah.
Walks through the rhododendrons at Forestry England’s Wheldrake Wood and watching out for the tiny toads and frogs at the RSPB’s Fairburn Ings. Tony Bartholomew’s Forest 100: A Year In The Life online exhibition of Dalby Forest from spring 2019 to spring 2020 at forestryengland.uk
THE Unseeables, a tale of extinction in three birds by filmmaker Feral Practice, is the latest digital commission in lockdown by Scarborough Museums Trust.
The 11-minute film, looking at the “the strange and polarised relationships humans have with other species”, can be seen on the trust’s YouTube channel (bit.ly/TheUnseeablesNDC) from Tuesday, June 16.
Feral Practice, the alias of artist and researcher Fiona MacDonald, explores loss, reparation, extinction and conservation, via the interwoven stories of three birds “lost” to Scarborough, now surviving only as specimens in the Scarborough Collections.
The first is the sad and harrowing story of the Great Auk. The SMT collections house a single egg of a great auk, a large flightless bird that became globally extinct in 1844.
The auk’s demise was brutal, cruel, and driven by profit; most were killed for their down. As they approached extinction, every specimen was coveted by museums, ultimately putting the prestige of an auk exhibit above the survival of a species.
In the Scarborough Collections too are taxidermy examples of the great bustard and the corncrake.
The great bustard became extinct in the UK in the early 1800s, but diminishing populations still exist in Central and Southern Europe and Asia, where the huge, “showy” males perform glorious ruffle dances for their female harems.
In Britain, the bird has been the subject of a reintroduction project that has succeeded in establishing a breeding population on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire.
The distinctive voice of the shy Corncrake was once integral to the British rural soundscape. Corncrakes started declining, however, as agriculture became mechanised, and by the late 1930s they were absent from much of England, not least Yorkshire, despite once having been widespread across the North of England.
Now, they are confined largely to the islands off the west of Scotland and the northern isles of Orkney and Shetland. To save the bird, British conservationists seek to educate and persuade landowners.
The film narrates the birds’ stories alongside imagery that weaves together close-up footage of the Scarborough Collections exhibits with found footage and sculptural responses by Feral Practice, in an “impossible attempt to conjure the lost birds in their studio”.
Feral Practice says: “As we comprehend (or re-learn) the complex warp and weft of ecological thinking, and understand landscapes as self-creating masterpieces of which humans can never be masters, can we step back from our urge to manipulate, exploit and control? Will we allow other species the space they need to flourish alongside us on their own terms?”
Scarborough Museums Trust wants The Unseeables to be accessible to everyone, so the film is captioned and a parallel audio experience is available for those who might find this helpful.
Defining Feral Practice’s artistic practice, Fiona says: “We work with human and non-human beings to create art projects and interdisciplinary events that develop ethical and imaginative connection across species boundaries.
“Our research draws on artistic, scientific and subjective knowledge practices to explore diverse aesthetics and create suggestive spaces of not knowing nature.”
Feral Practice is the artist-in-residence for 2020-2021 at Dunham Massey, a National Trust Georgian house, garden and deer park in Cheshire.
The Unseeablesis one of a series of new digital commissions in lockdown from Scarborough Museums Trust in response to the Corona crisis. The trust has asked artists Feral Practice, Kirsty Harris, Jane Poulton, Wanja Kimani, Jade Montserrat, Lucy Carruthers and Estabrak to create digital artworks for released online across assorted social-media platforms.
ZOMBLOGALYPSE filmmakers Miles Watts, Hannah Bungard and Tony Hipwell are holding Zomblog Zero Day today for all zombie movie enthusiasts.
“Zomblog fun is coming on Tuesday, all day,” they say on Twitter. “Zomblog is the series we shot that serves as a prequel to the web series and indeed the movie [Zomblogalypse], and a sort of reboot. A prebootquel, if you will. We move with the times.”
For Zomblog Zero Day, these cult York filmmakers will be posting all six Zomblog episodes at Facebook.com/Zomblogalypse and commenting below each one. “We’re encouraging you to watch and ask us anything,” they say. “We’ll also be posting outtakes and surprises along the way. Join us!”
Watts, Bungard and Hipwell are purveyors of a “cult zombie-blog-apocalypse-web-comedy-horror-series and now a big silly movie for 2020”.
A DRIVE-IN cinema with social distancing rules will take over Knavesmire for three days next month in York.
Meeting Coronavirus regulations to ensure entertainment can return to York, interaction between staff and customers will be kept to a minimum, with cars parked two metres apart and those attending expected to remain within their vehicles for the duration of the screening.
From July 3 to 5, ten family favourites and blockbuster films will be shown on large LED screens with the sound transmitted to the audience’s car radios. Food and drink can be ordered in advance and will be delivered to individual cars.
The big-screen promoters, Teesside company Daisy Duke’s Drive-In Cinema, have confirmed a line-up of The Jungle Book, The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, Frozen 2, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Greatest Showman, A Star Is Born, 28 Days Later, Pulp Fiction and Joker.
The organisers, who have been involved in entertainments and event management for 30 years, plan to have four screenings per day, lasting from morning to late-night.
Tickets cost £15, adults, £10, children, and can be booked at dukescinema.epizy.com.
The York open-air screenings will be part of a summer series of stops by the North Eastern mobile cinema, also calling in at venues in Darlington, Sunderland and “Teesside” (sorry not to be more specific!).
EXIT stage left 10 Things To See Next Week In York for the still unforeseeable future in these woolly-thinking lockdown times when everyone’s gone to the beach…or Burnsall.
Make do with entertainment at home and now farther afield, in whatever configuration, as you stay alert to working out how to interpret the Government’s green-for-go rules, in the stultifying shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic that has higher figures in York than elsewhere in North Yorkshire, lest we forget.
From behind his door a little more ajar, but still nervous about comings and goings, CHARLES HUTCHINSON makes these suggestions.
Jo Caulfield and Simon Evans, Your Place Comedy, streaming into your living room from theirs, Sunday, 8pm
AFTER Mark Watson and Lucy Beaumont in April, followed by Simon Brodkin and Harrogate’s Maisie Adams in May, Yorkshire’s virtual comedy project Your Place Comedy returns this weekend with a double bill of BBC Radio 4 stalwarts, Jo Caulfield and Simon Evans.
Led by Selby Town Hall manager Chris Jones, ten small, independent Yorkshire and Humber venues unite to present a fundraising evening of humour on the home front, broadcast live from Caulfield and Evans’s living room to yours for free at yourplacecomedy.co.uk. Donations are welcome afterwards.
Something Fabulous This Way Comes, Velma Celli’s Equinox, June 13, 8pm
DRAG diva deluxe, Velma Celli, the cabaret creation of York actor Ian Stroughair, invites you to “join me in my kitchen as I celebrate all my favourite witchy and misunderstood characters from movies and musicals”.
“Equinox is a love letter to all the witches and magical creatures who have graced our stages and screens, from Wicked to The Wizard Of Oz and every belty enchantress from the coven in between,” says Velma, who will sing the siren songs of the hags and creatures that go bump in the night as she weaves her cabaret magic at the witching hour, when daylight and darkness are almost equal.
If you haven’t heard Alan Ayckbourn’s Anno Domino yet, why not…?
GOODBYE Alan Ayckbourn’s 83rd play, Truth Will Out, postponed at Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre amid the Coronavirus pandemic. Hello instead to his 84th play for lockdown times.
Ayckbourn has not only written and directed it, as per usual, but he performs in the audio recording too, marking his return to acting, 56 years after his last appearance on a professional stage in Rotherham.
In one of his lighter pieces, charting the break-up of a long-established marriage and its domino effect on family and friends, Ayckbourn, 81, and his wife, actress Heather Stoney, play four characters each, aged 18 to mid-70s. “We were just mucking about in our sitting room,” says Ayckbourn of a world premiere available for free exclusively on the SJT’s website, sjt.uk.com, until noon on June 25.
York Festival of Ideas, staying alert and staying home until June 14
FESTIVAL after festival has bitten the dust in Covid-19 2020, but if one event could be guaranteed to come up with a different idea, it would be…the York Festival of Ideas.
Consequently, ideas are still blooming in June, as the University of York invites you to go on a “journey of discovery that will educate, entertain and inspire you from the comfort of your own home”, under the banner of Virtual Horizons.
The festival team has worked hard with their partners to bring together a diverse programme of talks, music, activities and community trails. Topics range from author Tansy E Hoskins revealing what exactly your shoes are doing to the world (Foot Work, June 6, 1pm), to scientist Phil Ball discussing genetic editing, cloning and the growth of organs outside the body (How To Grow A Human, June 8, 6pm).
Or, if you need your topicality topping up, how about trenchant broadcaster and political commentator Iain Dale mulling over “the phenomenon” of Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a talk “big on comedy and fun” (The Book Of Boris, tomorrow, June 5, 6pm)? Comedy? Fun? Just what we need to tackle the Corona crisis.
Fieri Consort and L’Apothéose, National Centre for Early Music streamed concert, June 13
THE NCEM, in Walmgate, York, continues to share concerts from its archive on Facebook and online. On June 13 comes the chance to enjoy music by past winners of the York Early Music International Young Artists Competition, a double bill featuring Fieri Consort from 2017 and last year’s winners L’Apothéose.
ORGANISED by We Are Scarborough and Say Hello Coast, this event is inspired by the Jo Cox Foundation’s national Great Get Together: a celebration of the late Labour MP’s life and her vision of bringing people together.
This year, it will take place online and will include three competitions: creating a postcard comp on the theme of Scarborough Fair; song lyrics and a multi-genre comp for writers, poets, model-makers and performers.
York Radio Mystery Plays, on BBC Radio York, Sunday mornings throughout June
YORK Theatre Royal and BBC Radio York are collaborating to bring the York Mystery Plays to life on the airwaves in four 15-minute instalments on the Sunday Breakfast Show with Jonathan Cowap from this weekend.
Working remotely from home, a cast of 19 community and professional actors has recorded Adam And Eve, The Flood Part 1, The Flood Part 2 and Moses And Pharaoh, under the direction of Theatre Royal associate director Juliet Forster.
Seek out the good news
YORK River Art Market in July and August, ruled out by social-distancing rules. York Early Music Festival’s summer of Method & Madness in July, called off. Jane McDonald’s Let The Light In concert at York Barbican tonight, lights out. The list of cancellations may show no sign of abating, but you can always look ahead by searching for event updates on websites.
York River Art Market? Charlotte Dawson and co promise a return to Dame Judi Dench Walk in 2021. York Early Music Festival? Watch this space for the possibility of an online version of this summer’s festival emerging. Wakefield wonder Jane McDonald? Lights up on July 4 2021.
And what about…
The debut album for our disconnected times, Human Contact, by York band The Howl & The Hum. Jorvik Viking Centre’s Discover From Home, digital resources for stay-at-home exploration, such as videos, downloads and audio recordings about Viking life and culture. Garden centres, the real green-for-go sign of lockdown easement. Castle Howard reopening its gardens and grounds; bookings only. Walks on Hob Moor, to the Railway Pond. Crepes at Shambles Market. Pextons reawakening for DIY needs and more on Bishopthorpe Road.
WANJA Kimani’s Butterfly, a new film inspired by the everyday pleasures of a daily family walk, will be released on June 2 as the latest digital commission in lockdown from Scarborough Art Gallery.
Butterfly is filmed from the perspective of two children adjusting to life during the Coronavirus lockdown and collects encounters from their walks, when they appreciate nature and music in particular.
Suitable for all ages, Kimani’s six-minute film can be seen on Scarborough Museums Trust’s YouTube channel, https://bit.ly/SMTbutterfly, from next Tuesday morning.
One of Butterfly’s highlights will be a performance of Over The Rainbow, from The Wizard Of Oz, played on violin, piano and accordion by two music teachers from their doorstep.
Kimani, who lives in Cambridgeshire, says: “We heard beautiful music coming from the house one day and put a note on the door to ask if we could film the following day.
“It’s not something we would usually have heard: all of these things are coming together because we’re all forced to be at home.”
Kimani asks both herself and the viewer: “What can we learn from listening even closer to our natural world, which seems to be revelling in our absence? How can the small but magnified details of our journey change how we engage when all of this is over?
“In this digital commission, I am exploring objects from the natural world through the eyes of children, who instinctively collect and curate everyday objects simply by noticing them.
“The title, Butterfly, sums up spring for me: a sign of new life, light and a reminder that things are working even when we don’t see them. It’s something that my youngest has just learned how to draw and is so proud of it.”
Scarborough Museums Trust wants Butterflyto be accessible to everyone. Consequently, the film includes audio description and captioning, for those who might find this helpful. A transcript is available to download too.
Kimani says: “Thinking about how this work will be accessed has made me pause and reflect on how the tools I use can be used to enrich the experience of diverse viewers. It made me consider how my work may be viewed and what different audiences may need to engage with the work.
“By embedding access in the process, the work has allowed me to experiment with how different senses engage with work, with the second part of the work attempting to level out the point of entry.”
Through film, textiles and installation, Kimani’s repertoire of work “explores memory, trauma and the fluidity within social structures that are designed to care and protect but have the potential to mutate into coercive forces within society”.
She imposes elements of her own life into public spaces, creating a personal narrative where she is both author and character. In 2018, her performance piece Expectations was included in the Laboratoire Agit’Art presentation during the Dak’Art Biennale of Contemporary African Art in Dakar, Senegal.
In 2019, she presented her work at Art Dubai and as part of a group show, Yesterday Is Today’s Memory, at Espace Commines, in Paris, France.
The digital commission series forms part of Scarborough Museums Trust’s response to the Corona crisis, asking Kimani, Kirsty Harris, Jane Poulton, Feral Practice, Jade Montserrat, Lucy Carruthers and Estabrak to create digital artworks for release online across assorted social-media platforms over the next few months.
GAME Of Thrones, Afterlife and Harry Potter actor David Bradley is among a host of new patrons pledging their support to Theatre @41 Monkgate, York.
York-born Bradley, 78, who also starred in Broadchurch and played Jesus Christ in the 1976 York Mystery Plays, is joined by Bridlington-born Rosie Jones, a comedian, actress and scriptwriter, from 8 Out Of 10 Cats and Mock The Week, who has cerebral palsy, and New York playwright/composer Stephen Dolginoff, whose shows Thrill Me: The Leopold And Loeb Story and Monster Makers played in York in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Further names to wade in with their backing are actors Karen Henthorn, from the National Theatre’s War Horse, In The Flesh and The Trouble With Maggie Cole, and John McArdle, from Brookside, Emmerdale and Frantic Assembly’s Things I Know To Be True at York Theatre Royal in November 2017.
The board also welcomes Felicity Cooper, daughter of the theatre’s founder, the late John Cooper, and former chairman Jim Welsman, who worked tirelessly within the York arts scene, first as chairman of York Musical Theatre Company, then as founder and director of the York New Musical Festival, before retiring from the Monkgate theatre’s board last year.
“Our new patrons have agreed to ensure this intimate venue not only survives but thrives through the challenges of Covid-19 and beyond,” says Joe Wawrzyniak, who succeeded Jim in the chairman’s post last autumn.
“The charity’s board of trustees approached them as part of an exciting development plan for Theatre @41, enlisting a host of patrons to get people talking about this hidden gem as we make ambitious plans for post-lockdown.”
Theatre @41 opened in 1998, under the inspirational leadership of John Cooper, who transformed the Victiorian building from scratch into a black-box theatre. Now, the venue, with rehearsal rooms and a dance studio to boot, plays host to York Stage Musicals, Pick Me Up Theatre, Once Seen Theatre Company, York Shakespeare Project and Rigmarole Theatre, among others.
Alexander Flanagan Wright’s cult-hit immersive jazz-age production of The Great Gatsby had a swell time there too, staged by The Guild Of Misrule in winter 2016 and 2018.
“Theatre @41 gives York an intimate performance space alongside bigger venues such as the York Theatre Royal and Grand Opera House, in much the same way London’s Menier Chocolate Factory and Southwark Playhouse are as vital to the capital’s arts scene as the big West End theatres,” says Joe.
“Looking ahead, we have a great vision for Theatre@41 and we want to shout it from the rafters. What better way to get started than to involve a high-profile group of patrons who are all passionate about the arts? Everyone is keen to get involved: we’re very lucky to have this wonderful new group on board.”
Joe adds: “We’re home to Nik Briggs’s York Stage School, which encourages young people to get involved in performance; Robert Readman’s Pick Me Up Theatre, who regularly present new writing and premieres, and Once Seen Theatre Company, who specialise in working with adults with learning and physical disabilities. We can now boast patrons who represent some of the areas of the arts that we work in.
“It’s our mission to keep the vibrant, inclusive spirit of Theatre@41 going, and for this fabulous, versatile venue to continue to grow. Our new patrons will be there to help us all the way.”